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Stuart O'Brien

Forum Insight: 7 effective ways to feel the fear and network anyway

If you’re shy, don’t think that successful networking is out of the question. Molly Dyson offers top tips for the less outgoing.

While working with Forum Events we’ve heard from many industry members that their job can be extremely isolating, especially if your position is the only one of its kind at your company. That’s where strategic networking comes into play, but it’s not always easy to get past your fears and meet new people. Here are our top tips to tackle trepidation and go head on into a successful networking event.

1 Set a goal

What are you hoping to achieve by networking? Are you in need of a support group of other, similar employees that you can turn to with questions? Maybe you’re looking for a new job and want to get to know people who might know of available positions. Or perhaps you’re just on the hunt for new contacts. Whatever your goal, have it firmly in your mind so you can be more strategic in your approach.

2 Find the right event or group

Once you have a goal in mind you can be more selective with which events you attend. If you’re looking for suppliers, face-to-face events such as the Digital Marketing Solutions Summit are the place to be. Want to meet like-minded individuals? Join local and national networks to give you the chance to interact with a variety of different people from different backgrounds.

3 Remember you’re not alone

It’s important to keep in mind that you’re probably not the only shy person in the room. Whether it’s your first or fifth networking event, look around the room and spot your fellow wallflowers – they’ll be the first people to target.

4 Jump in feet first

When you’re at the event, try not to spend too much time waiting for somebody else to strike up a conversation. When you’ve spotted the other shy ones in the room, approach them and introduce yourself – you can even make a joke of the fact that you’re there alone. Sometimes it pays off to step out of your comfort zone and make the first effort.

5 Have an elevator pitch ready

Prepare a quick statement that tells others who you are, what you do and what you’re passionate about. This should be no longer than 30 seconds, but preferably less – it doesn’t need to be the story of your life. You just want to give people a taster of who you are so they’re intrigued enough to ask more questions and continue the conversation.

6 Keep up appearances

Your tone of voice and body language make up 93% of a person’s impression of you. So try to maintain an open and positive stance with a welcoming smile on your face, and don’t use negative language. You have to find the right balance of confidence and humility – nobody likes a braggart, but you do have to be able to tote your own successes if you want to maintain professional relationships with the people you meet.

7 Have fun

Need we say more? Get out there and enjoy yourself!

Industry Spotlight: Free help to improve your WordPress

WhoisWP is a free online detector tool that analyzes any website created with WordPress. The results reveal what WordPress theme a site is using, with the aims to eliminate time spent browsing the WordPress theme directory.

Hoping to save time and encourage inspiration, WhoisWIP can also list WordPress plugins installed on the site, helping you learn from your competitors and WordPress leaders.

Based on visual content and usability research, the team in charge of this project developed this tool to obtain an improvement in the way people express their creative vision when designing their own website.

Their site also features a constantly updated blog section, in order to bring users the latest information.

The premise behind WhoisWP is that “copying someone’s style is flattering and a means to perpetuate the idea further so that more people can enjoy it.” says Ionut Marin, the WhoisWP project manager.

76% of marketers think adblocking is a good thing

Over three quarters of those in the marketing industry believe advert-blocking software will encourage greater creativity, according to new research.

The study by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) revealed the top priorities for the year ahead, with adblocking becoming a hot topic as another 38% believe it could cause a decline in online marketing.

Trying to get accustomed to an increasingly shifting landscape, marketers believe new technologies such as Chatbots and Virtual Reality, as well ‘short-lived’ content that is only available for a limited on sources such as Snapchat.

A leading priority for many marketers is personalisation, utilising user data to provide specific advertisements, but experts are encouraged by the response.

The CIM believe the most important thing in the current market is to remain open-minded and embrace the changes the internet is bringing, saying that marketers have “a natural thirst for creativity.”

“It was positive to see the majority of respondents rising to the challenge of ad-blocking,” said CIM Chief executive Chris Daly, “the fundamental skills of their profession in terms of delivering more personalised, targeted and influential campaigns, still sit at the core of marketers’ everyday life.”

Understanding that digitally native services such as Amazon and Uber consistently focus and improve upon their customer experiences, nearly half of those surveyed addressed the mounting pressure to reinvent their own customer interactivity.

For many, customer experience is becoming the primary focus of their whole business as further pressure is placed on marketing to deliver.

“no matter what business you are in, the customer should always be at the heart of the operation,” continued Chris Daly, “Marketers have a clear role to play in demonstrating their value to the business, and for making the case for increased investment to meet their organisational goals.”

Gender diversity growth to double by 2020

The gender gap across the advertising industry has largely improved within the last 10 years, according to new figures.

Part of an annual diversity survey by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), the study shows that a balanced workplace is among the industry’s top priorities this year, with a 100% response rate from IPA’s largest agencies.

The data revealed that employment positions such as heads of department, middle managers and other senior staff are considered to be equally balanced with around a 50-50 male-female split.

Higher managerial positions are still struggling to be defined as ‘balanced’ (over 40%), with C-suite positions such as CEO or Chair lagging behind at around 30%. However, this is still an increase on the 23.3% from 10 years ago, growth which is hoped to over double to to 40% by 2020.

“2016 will be remembered as a year when the issue of diversity rose to the top of the agenda,” said IPA president Tom Knox, “but if we are to achieve our targets of gender parity, now is the time to put these thoughts into action.”

Take part in our digital marketing industry survey!

The Digital Marketing Solutions Summit is an amazing opportunity for collaboration between industry professionals and those looking to provide the latest and greatest products to the market.

It all takes place on May 8th 2017 at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, bringing the digital marketing industry together for one-to-one business meetings, interactive seminars and valuable networking opportunities.

To help us create the best event possible, we’d love to ask you a few questions about your role in the industry, your thoughts on its key issues and your priorities for 2017.

It’ll take just a few minutes to complete via an online form – plus you can enter a prize draw at the end for the chance to win £100 of Amazon vouchers!

Click here to take the survey

For more information about the Digital Marketing Solutions Summit and to attend for FREE as one of VIP delegates, contact Kerry Naumburger at k.naumburger@forumevents.co.uk

Thank you for taking the time to help us shape the key event for your industry!